As we make our way through this wonderful, occasionally frustrating, sometimes tragic and yet consistently fascinating journey we call life, it’s safe to say that a few hard truths come home to roost at some point for most of us.
Often I’ve thought of them as indiscernible slaps around the head, for it seems that we have to experience a life-changing moment or series of events in order for the message to hit home.
I’d like to think I’m nowhere even close to nearing the end of my adventure, but so far these are the entries I’m making into my retrospective manual of life’s curveballs:
No-one else can make you happy – This one can take a long time to learn. So often I observe people who appear to be blissfully happy when in a relationship, and desparingly unhappy when not. Whilst having the company of people you love and care about can be wonderfully nourishing, depending upon it will make you needy and insecure. Look within for your own fulfillment and contentment. Another person can make you happier … but they need something to work with.
It’s easy to take those we love for granted – Sadly it’s a given that we often won’t miss those we love until they’re gone. Nobody is immortal, and yet we tend to go about our daily lives assuming, or maybe hoping, that they are. They’re not.
Taking the easy route is rarely the right option – If you’re taking it purely because it’s easy, that is. Review your justifcation. Is it the right choice? Or merely the one that requires least effort?
Not looking after yourself will bring you down – I don’t want to sound like a killjoy here, but there’s only so much hammer your body can take as you get older before your mental, emotional and physical performance starts to suffer. We all know the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, so let me just mention my favourite tip that’s easy to implement and yields immediate results- stay hydrated. Drink three litres of water a day and feel the difference, baby!
You need to give yourself permission – Because I’ve been in self-starting environments most of my working life my default setting is to challenge myself, aiming to complete tasks and goals within certain timeframes. Whilst I think this approach has doubtless merit, it can cause you to deny yourself time-out when needed. So cut yourself some slack; you’re not a superhero …. are you?!?
Success doesn’t come easy – I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wondered whether victory was playing some elusive game of hide and seek with me. Even now I still sometimes feel as if I’m caught up in a battle of wills. It’s a hard road and not everyone will make it, but you owe it to yourself to try. And to keep trying. And then to try again.
People will take advantage if you let them – Here’s my advice on this point: the earlier you learn this lesson, the easier it will be. Learn to balance care and compassion with an ounce or two of commonsense, and don’t allow yourself to be repeatedly taken for a mug. Every time it happens, it will hurt more than it did before. Be trusting by all means, but don’t be blind.
Worry is a huge waste of time – Often I’ve thought this was in my genes … But in truth I believe it to be a habit that simply needs to be broken. Someone told me years ago that worrying is like paying interest on money you haven’t borrowed yet. That puts it into perspective, doesn’t it?
Have a dream? Start now – We don’t have an infinite amount of time, so begin today. Plan that trip, start that book, make that telephone call. Just take action. Do it now.
Being happy is a choice – For me this is absolutely true … most of the time (hormones permitting!) We can actively choose to walk around with a smile or a grimace on our face. I’ve found that, on balance, the good things tend to happen when I feel good about life.
And lastly … Enjoy! Surely it’s better to love every single minute of it?
Can’t enjoy it? Change it. Start now.
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